Parsnip Gnocchi with Walnut Dressing

Christmas recipes from Jane Baxter, Riverford Farm

Parsnip is one of winter favourite. If you want to add some Italian flavour to your traditional Christmas dinner, here is an option.
Parsnip Gnocchi with Walnut Dressing
Serves 4

  • 450g parsnips (peeled and diced weight)
  • 450g waxy potatoes (peeled and diced weight)
  • 250g plain flour (pasta flour if you can get it), more if needed
  • 1 egg
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt and ground white pepper
  • 25g butter

for the dressing:

  • 100g walnuts, toasted & roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp good olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 50g winter salad leaves or watercress
  • parmesan or pecorino, to serve

In a pan of salted boiling water, cook the parsnips and potatoes for approx 10 mins, until just tender. Drain well, then pass through a potato ricer (or mash well) and leave to cool.

Put the mashed veg and 250g flour in a large bowl. Grate in a little fresh nutmeg, season well with salt and pepper and mix together lightly. Break the egg into the bowl. Bring together with your hands and knead to a dough, adding a little more flour if needed. The dough should be light, almost pillowy to touch and not too moist. Don’t over-knead it.

Divide the dough into 4. On a lightly floured work surface use the flat of your hands to roll and shape the pieces into sausage shapes about 2cm in diameter. Cut into 2cm lengths. Roll roughly into balls. Take a ball and hold it over your finger. Use the prongs of a fork to press down into the gnocchi to form the traditional pattern.

In a pan of salted boiling water, cook for 3-4 mins, until the gnocchi rise to the top. Drain. Place on a baking tray, patterned side up and grill until lightly browned on top.

To make the dressing, gently warm all the ingredients except the parmesan in a small pan until the leaves are just wilted. Pour over the gnocchi and scatter with parmesan to serve.

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